Islamic Creationism in Turkey
A significant, corollary development since the rise of Bucailleism is the advent of the new Islamic Creationism, particularly as it has emerged in Turkey. This movement shares much in common with its American counterpart, but is clearly an outworking of a Bucailleist view of the relationship between science and Islam.
The major contributor to this genre, particularly in Turkey, is Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pseudonym, Harun Yahya. While some have speculated that one person could not be responsible for the sheer volume of publications that are attributed to him, the publications clearly present Yahya as the sole author of the literally hundreds of articles, booklets, and books which deal with this topic and many other Bucailleist issues including the standard presentation of scientific miracles in the Qur’an. His books are extravagantly produced with sophisticated full-color photos and use high quality materials. Similarly, his website, http://www.harunyahya.com/, is wonderfully designed and organized. His books, The Evolution Deceit, and Darwinism Refuted have become extremely influential in Turkey and have since been distributed throughout the Muslim world and the West. In fact, The Evolution Deceit was recently mailed to several opponents of creationism in the United States.In terms of the actual scientific support for creationism, the Turkish creationist movement borrows nearly all of its research from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), a conservative, evangelical Christian organization that promotes scientific creationism in the United States.
While there is some irony in the fact that such a conservative Muslim movement would borrow much of its material from evangelical Christians, the connections between the two movements are profound. In fact, prominent American creationists from ICR such as John Morris and Duane Gish have been invited to speak at conferences in several Turkish cities organized by the Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, (BAV) “The Science Research Foundation.”
The new Turkish creationism differs somewhat in scientific content and even more in terms of religious and political underpinnings. Any Christian concepts are removed or replaced with Islamic counterparts and references to the Bible are exchanged for appeals to the Qur’an. Perhaps the largest difference in scientific content between the two “creationisms” is the omission of “flood geology” from the Turkish version. Flood geology, which has been called “ICR’s signature doctrine,” is used by creationists to demonstrate he feasibility of a global flood based on evidence in geology. Turkish creationists, however, are not concerned to defend a “young Earth” position since the Qur’an does not present a chronology of salvation history in the way that the Bible does.
This version of Islamic creationism also attacks evolution on slightly different grounds, arguing that all mutations are harmful, because organisms are said to have been created perfect and have remained without flaw to this day. This contrasts with ICR and biblical creationists who argue that all of creation bears the corrupting effects of sin.
The political nature of creationism in Turkey is of particular significance. In the literature itself, Darwinism is associated with Marxist ideologies, and Masons and Jews are credited with driving the evolutionist agenda. While there is no parallel to this claim in the Christian creationist literature, attributing Masons and Jews with global conspiracies is a characteristic feature of some Islamic apologetic literature. In fact, Harun Yahya is also the author of The Holocaust Hoax, which denies the historicity of the holocaust.
Negatively portraying Marxism, Freemasonry, and Judaism, however, are only the rhetorical foils for the active Islamist agenda associated with Turkish creationism. Since the founding of the Refah party in 1983 Turkey’s Islamist movement has included anti-Darwinism as a “solid plank in the Islamist platform.” Darwinism became associated with Communism, atheism, and even Jews and Freemasons, thus, a refutation of Darwinism on scientific grounds appealed to the masses as an Islamic cause justified by modern science. The rise of Islamic creationism in Turkey has coincided with the recent success of the Islamist party (AK partisi) in local and national elections, further cementing the association of Bucailleism with the Islamist agenda.
The rhetorical fervor associated with Islamism is also evident in the Bucailleist Turkish creationism. This is an element which further distinguishes Turkish creationism from its American counterpart. The level of discourse is markedly more political. While there are groups within Turkey which oppose at least some forms of creationism, such a stance can be seen as dangerous. As Taner Edis, a Turkish author in the United States, notes, “criticizing the faith not only puts the individual’s soul at risk but is also a treachery against the community. When a prominent Islamist newspaper (Akit, December 2, 1998) published the names of the signatories of the TUBA statement [note: TUBA is the Turkish Academy of Sciences which published a statement opposing creationism] on its front page, suggesting they trespassed against Islam, this had overtones of an invitation to violence.”